Time travel has always been a favorite staple in the Star Trek franchise. Since the days of Kirk and Spock, through the Temporal Cold War of Enterprise Federation, officers and their ships have traversed both past and future. It’s no surprise that the two most popular Trek films: The Voyage Home and First Contact happen to be time travel tales. In this collection, Trek fans have voted for their favorite temporal excursions from the first four versions of the show. Unfortunately some fine Enterprise entries are not …ncluded. While all of these episodes are to be found in their individual season sets, this is nonetheless an impressive collection.
From the Original Series comes perhaps its greatest episode. Harlen Ellison’s “The City On The Edge Of Forever” features a compelling guest stint by a then very young Joan Collins as the ill-fated Edith Keeler. When McCoy escapes into the past enraged by an accidental drug overdose, he changes the past and strands the landing party on a dead planet. Kirk and Spock travel to Depression era San Francisco, where to Kirk’s horror he finds he must allow Keeler to die. To complicate matters, he appears to have fallen in love with her along the way. This classic is accompanied by that show’s Tomorrow Is Yesterday.
From the Next Generation we get the lion’s share of episodes, and perhaps rightly so. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is quite a compelling episode. We get to see a warlike Enterprise and for those who cheered when Yar was killed, we get to see her sent off to her albeit more meaningful death again. “Cause And Effect” is a bit tiresome. “Time’s Arrow” is a great 2-parter. We get not only time travel, but throw in Lore, The Borg, and Mark Twain just for kicks. This was one of those season-ending cliffhangers Trek was famous for. Finally we get the best Trek series send-off of them all. “All Good Things” not only brings our favorite menace, Q, back for one more ride on The Enterprise, but it is a wonderful tale of possibilities and regrets. As Picard is washed backward and forward through time, he must collect pieces of a puzzle from all of these timelines to escape a terrible trap. At one time this was written as the crossover movie script. In that version, instead of other versions of Picard’s ship, Kirk’s Enterprise would also be trapped. What a better film than Generations this script would have been.
From the Deep Space 9 we get two very humorous episodes. “Little Green Men” finds Quark, Rom, and Nog become the Roswell incident. “Trials And Tribble-ations” is best known for its wonderful recreation of the original Enterprise. It was intended as a 30 year anniversary special for Star Trek.
From Voyager we get two of the better 2-parters. “Year of Hell” follows a battered Voyager attempting to cross hostile space. The year is reset, however, and everything’s fine. “Endgame” is a lesser series send-off that finds Voyager brought safely home by a future Janeway. This was not the first Voyager episode to feature a future version of a crew member coming back to save the day. “Future’s End” and “Timeless” were far better examples of good time travel stories from Voyager, but were not included.
All of these episodes are presented in their original full frame broadcast format. There is a good deal of variety here. We’re talking about 30 years plus in time from the beginning to the end. All of the transfers are identical to their individual season releases.
Again there is a lot of variation in quality, but for the most part even the early original episodes are pretty clean here. The Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are pretty much comparable to the original releases.
Three text commentaries by the Okudas are all this collection provides.The menus are not as elaborate as some of the later season sets but they are easy to navigate.The packaging is a fine slim book holding four discs that slides into a nice slip case.
While I am not a huge fan of recycling episodes for more boxed sets, I tend to feel Trek requires a pass. There are just so many hours of Star Trek out there that many folks simply can’t afford to buy them all. These themed collections are priced pretty well and offer the chance to collect a group of episodes spanning the four series without breaking the bank. If you have them all, there is certainly nothing much new here to justify spending the extra bucks. Call it Star Trek for the everyman. Just a little chance for everyone to “Boldly go where no man has gone before”.
Special Features List
- Text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda